• Mauro Herrera

How To Teach Your Children To Be More Emotionally Intelligent

Did your parents read stories to you before going to sleep? My parents too! Bedtime stories for kids are as sold as time immemorial. Some of the best-known stories date back hundreds of years. At what age did they stop reading stories for you? Possibly very early, like mine did. Reading to your children may be underrated as it is known to have huge impacts on children's brain development. It’s better that you read for them than to let an iPad do it.

Telling stories is as ancient as humanity, from cave-paintings to puppet shows and plays. It is a practice that is done to transmit information from generation to generation. Yes I know, Neanderthals did not know how to use Wikipedia, how silly of them!

To this day many people believe, probably you too, that reading to your children is a way to make them fall asleep quickly and learn some morals. Yes, it can be useful for that, but the benefits go much, much further. The story of Peter and the Wolf taught us not to lie. Little Red Riding Hood taught us... not to trust wolves dressed as grannies?

This is the deal:

When our parents read to us, without knowing, they invariably taught us to develop creativity and even manage emotions. Crazy right? All thanks to three little pigs who knew how to build houses.

Bedtime Stories For Brain Development

Bedtime stories for kids are designed for your children in such a way that it allows them to put themselves in the shoes of the protagonist so that they feel the same things that the main character feels, and they are quite descriptive so that they can imagine scenarios, perspectives and actions, obviously helped by the images.

So what happens to your children's minds when you read them a bedtime story? First, the child is stimulated by your voice and the images that often appear in children's books. These stimuli encourage them to imagine what you are narrating. On the other hand, these stories are full of emotions and feelings that they also feel, when the protagonist is scared, they feel fear, when the heroes win, they get excited too. This is perfect for them to begin to develop emotion management.

It's like telling your children: “When this happens, it is normal to feel this way. In this scenario, it is common to react like this.”

All this, without counting the endless benefits that exist to promote communication and the good relationship between you and your children.

And it also helps them sleep, which is always appreciated when you are parents because we are always tired. Sometimes even I fall asleep with them too, how effective!

Benefits Of Reading To Your Children

Some studies showed that children who listened to a bedtime story each night tended to learn to read faster and to express their emotions more clearly. Some of the other benefits that reading bedtime stories have are:

  • You are building a greater communication bridge with your children. It will be much easier for them to communicate and feel comfortable with you if every night they share the experience of reading a story with you.

  • They learn to identify and interpret feelings. The stories for children are very explicit with the emotions of the characters, in this way it is easier to understand how they feel. In real life, your kids will know how they feel because they saw their favorite characters feeling the same way.

  • Bedtime stories provide them with more vocabulary builds. The words used in children's stories are chosen very carefully, and the way the stories are told helps your children understand them easily but learn new words at the same time. If you constantly read to your children, they are more likely to learn to read and write more easily.

  • Listening to a story promotes attention. The story requires your child to focus on you and your words, which makes this a perfect activity to practice concentration.

  • Knowing more than one bedtime story helps with memory. Sometimes your children want to hear the same story every night, (more than once in a row in some cases) as tiring as that may be, that encourages your children to strengthen their memory.

Storytelling As A Lifelong Habit

While the best time of day to tell your children stories is before bed, it doesn't have to be the only time to do it.

You can take advantage of any time of the day to read a story for children. Nor should you limit yourself to classic fairy tales, you can find a great variety online, aimed at different goals, suitable for different age ranges.

As your children grow you should not stop reading stories, you just have to adapt them to their age. You can even put the fictional stories aside and tell them some personal stories of you or your family. Sure, keep everything pretty PG, no crazy stories from your college years, save those for when they turn 18.

Sometimes we will feel too tired to read bedtime stories to them but make the effort and remember that you are helping in the development of their brains. Tired parents are good parents!


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